Liverpool Council launches Operation Banger to 'end misery of bonfire night problem'

Teams have been sent in to clear huge "bonfires of misery" in parts of Liverpool after the council admitted it had a Bonfire Night problem.

City leaders say a large number of 5 November celebrations have been hijacked by organised gangs fly-tipping dangerous waste.

The "preventative clearances" have been taking place as part of a two-week crackdown called Operation Banger.

Councillor Laura Robertson-Collins, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: "The issue has been building for some years now, but last year the scale and proximity to homes of some of these illegal bonfires posed a real threat to life."

Goalposts, sofas and bikes were amongst the rubbish found on this 18-tonne bonfire in Fazakerley.

Despite almost 100 tonnes of waste being removed in 2022, the council said there were still numerous fires.

Putting them out and cleaning the sites caused a drain on public finances, it said.

Cllr Robertson-Collins said that Bonfire Night is "now a curse" for many residents, especially for those living near to open plots of land that are being used "as dumping grounds for industrial quantities of waste – and often hazardous waste at that".

The politician said she feared people and animals "being consumed with toxic smoke or even set on fire from dispersed embers" and highlighted the danger to fire officers dealing with "potential death traps that have at times contained explosive items, such as pressurised containers."

She added that the council, along with Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, are united that "enough is enough."

In total 34 tonnes of waste was been removed in 10 days, with the majority coming from just two sites.

Liverpool council says it will all be recycled.

The crackdown has received a mixed response on social media.

One resident wrote: "Thank you... This is a really challenging week for all concerned trying to make our neighbourhoods better."

But another responded: "Anything to destroy community spirit I suppose."

Council workers have removed tonnes of waste during Operation Banger

The authority is calling on residents to report any fly-tipping so that enforcement action can be taken against the offenders.

Cllr Robertson-Collins added: "This is fly-tipping on a criminal scale. And our crews have been threatened at some of these sites, needing to return under police escort.

"That is simply inexcusable."